Here I’m going to respond to questions from my own comments:
Reading with an intent to comment... I’ll have to think about that. I intend to engage, to read more slowly and thoughtfully, but always to comment? Sometimes I can’t even find anything useful to say on my own blog, much less someone else’s.There are two parts to my concept of reading with intent to comment. The first part is the mental commitment. I’ve already decided that I’m going to read actively, not passively, and that’s a big step right there. Now, I don’t decide that for every single post I read. In fact, I’ve become more discriminating about the posts I read. Everyone’s choices will be different here based on taste and interest, but as examples I don’t read In My Mailbox or Library Loot memes, or posts about upcoming books. I don’t read posts about fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi teen books, and since that genre has taken over Young Adult literature, I’m skimming a lot of YA blogs these days for books I would like. There are exceptions, always exceptions, but I’ve already narrowed my selection of posts I’ll be reading with an active participation.
What do you all think about responding to comments left on your blog? Do you always respond, sometimes, almost never?
Step two. When I read I turn a mental ear towards my own internal dialogue, noting my reactions and thoughts. When I get to the comments, I pretty much know what I want to say, but just have to take an extra two minutes to shape the words. Sometimes I have no real internal reaction or it’s just meh. Because yeah, there’s still a difference between “Hmm. That’s interesting,” and “Wow! That’s interesting!” Then I don’t comment, and I move on. The intent to comment doesn’t mean that I’ll comment on every single post I read, but that I’ve selected the post to read actively and that I’ll pay attention to my own thoughts with an idea to share them.
Now, what do I think about responding to comments on your own blog and what do I do? Well, I rarely respond to comments in my blog, and then generally, only if it’s a direct question or clarification. I feel that I’ve put my thoughts in the post, and it’s your turn to contribute if you choose. But more important to me is that I want that commenting energy to go outward to the community, not inward to keeping the conversation on my blog. I only have so much time, and suspect that if I were spending it coming up with things to say on every comment on this blog, I wouldn’t also be going out and commenting on other blogs. I get the argument that commenting on your own blog builds dialogue there, but it seems to me that the people who reply to every comment rarely comment other places. I may be wrong, and maybe somebody will tell me so, but that’s my impression.
Just like the original questioner, I put this to all of you for your thoughts as well. But I’ll tell you now that I reserve the right not to spend time defending my opinion in responding to the comments, because I know I feel differently about this than many.